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GE to supply biomass gasification solution to California power plant

Western Energy Systems, GE’s distributed power business, and San Francisco-based Phoenix Energy have signed an agreement for GE to provide equipment for an integrated biomass gasification solution to power a bioenergy plant in North Fork, US.

The North Fork facility is the next in a series of bioenergy plants that Phoenix Energy is building in California.

GE’s integrated biomass gasification solution includes an Ecomagination-qualified, 1MW engine and biomass gasification system.

Phoenix Energy and GE have collaborated to design and implement this solution statewide.

For the North Fork project, Phoenix Energy will use the GE gasification solution to convert excess forest biomass to electricity, heat, and biochar, supporting the state and federal efforts to reduce wildfire risk, eliminate wasteful pile and burn management practices, and improve carbon sequestration.

The renewable biomass is procured locally from US Forest Service and CalFire managed lands.

With GE’s process, the carbon in the biomass is left mostly in solid form as biochar, which is then put back into California agriculture to improve soil health and water retention and can also be used as carbon filter media.

GE will provide an integrated biomass solution including the gasifier, gas conditioning system, and engine.

‘GE is the first company to offer us a single end-to-end solution on the complete biomass system, rather than piecing it all together from multiple vendors. This is game changing for the forested communities,’ says Phoenix Energy CEO Greg Stangl.

The North Fork project is the recipient of a $4.9 million (€4.3 million) grant awarded by the California Energy Commission.

Other Phoenix Energy projects nearing agreement will interconnect with various local utilities under California’s new SB-1122 legislation, which seeks to support further deployment of bioenergy in the state.

‘The Energy Commission invests in innovative cleaner energy concepts like Phoenix Energy's North Fork project because they create a pathway towards achieving California’s energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals,’ says Rizaldo Aldas, the Energy Commission's renewable energy R&D programme leader.

‘Bioenergy is environmentally and economically sustainable, and the successful development of projects like this one move biomass forward as a key renewable energy resource for the state.’

Phoenix Energy plans to commence operation of the North Fork plant in the fourth quarter of 2016.

GE and Western Energy Systems also will provide technical support and service for Phoenix Energy’s installed systems.

In October 2014, GE, Western Energy Systems, and Phoenix Energy announced that GE would provide its Jenbacher J612 gas engines for Phoenix Energy’s Lake Tahoe site.

The GE gas engines use syngas produced at Phoenix Energy’s biomass gasification facilities to generate renewable electricity.